March 5, 2007
UCSC undergraduates win awards at statewide research symposium
By Tim Stephens
Two UCSC undergraduates received Special Merit in Research Awards
at the 2007 Statewide Undergraduate Research Symposium of the California
Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (CAMP).
Milana PeBenito was recognized for her presentation on tumor suppressor
genes in mouse mammary gland. PeBenito works with Lindsay Hinck, associate
professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, whose research
includes investigations of mammary gland development. The mouse "Slit"
genes have a homologue in humans that is less active in breast cancer cells
than in normal cells, and PeBenito is investigating the function of the
proteins made by Slit genes. Her talk was entitled "SLITs function
as tumor suppressors in mouse mammary gland."
Deborah Ortiz was recognized for her work on the interactions of
semiconductor quantum dots with biomolecules. Ortiz works with Jin Zhang,
professor of chemistry and biochemistry, whose research focuses on
nanomaterials with novel physical and chemical properties. Ortiz's
project is part of an investigation of bioconjugation of semiconductor
quantum dots to proteins for biomedical detection based on photoluminescence.
Her talk was entitled "CdTe quantum dot interactions with yeast in
the absence of a specific binding molecule."
The CAMP program supports underrepresented students through peer
mentoring and tutoring and faculty-mentored research opportunities.
It is a statewide program funded by the National Science Foundation.
"By integrating research and undergraduate education, CAMP
creates a cohesive set of experiences that fully prepares undergraduates
for graduate education and influences career choices," said Russell
Flegal, CAMP regional director and professor of environmental toxicology at UCSC.